Earlier this year, Swedish broadcaster SVT announced a new rule that, from 2022, all Melodifestivalen entries would need to have at least one female songwriter. But just six months later, SVT has scrapped the rule change.
Melfest producer Karin Gunnarsson told the Swedish broadcaster that although they felt that it was the right moment for the organisation to install such a quota, it would not fix the underlying problem of the low participation of female songwriters.
Karin explained her reasoning:
“A compulsion is perhaps not so inspiring and creative, so we’re going back on it. Our ambition for a more equal Melodifestivalen remains and is something we will continue to work with.”
She denied that the critique of some songwriters on the “one female songwriter per entry” quota was the reason why they decided to scrap it. She said:
“There were those who were very happy and saw it as a step in the right direction. At the same time, it’s a bit controversial to stick out your chin that way. There were also those who did not think it was so good. But we do not back down because of outside opinions.”
As a way forward, Karin announced that they will still try to work on gender inclusivity at the very heart of the Swedish Eurovision preselection. She discussed a plethora of opportunities she sees to connect women with Melodifestivalen:
“For us, it can be about initiating meetings with women who may not have written to Mello before. And try to get better at mediating contacts and putting people together.”
SVT’s efforts to get more female songwriters at Melfest
In 2014, Melodifestivalen introduced a requirement that 20% of the contest songs should have at least one female songwriter. This followed the controversial Melodifestivalen 2013, where only one female singer and two female songwriters made it to the grand final.
The quota was increased to 50% in 2015 and remains at this level today. However, male songwriters still dominate the contest. In this year’s Mello, while female songwriters were behind more than half the entries, 79% of all songwriters that contributed to the songs were men.
The quotas haven’t hurt Melodifestivalen or Sweden’s chances at Eurovision. Måns Zelmerlöw’s winning song “Heroes” was co-written by Linnea Deb, who remains an in-demand songwriter.
What do you think of this rule change? How do you think that Melodifestivalen can become more inclusive? Let us know of the comments down below!
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